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How The Internet of Things Is Changing Our World

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Everybody talks about the Internet of Things, the IoT… but how is the IoT actually going to change our lives?

The Internet of Things is creating a new world, a quantifiable and measureable world, where people and businesses can manage their assets in better informed ways, and can make more timely and better informed decisions about what they want or need to do. This new connected world brings with it fundamental changes to society and to consumers. By sensing our surrounding environment, the IoT will create many practical improvements in our world, increasing our convenience, health and safety, while at the same time improving energy efficiency and comfort. The IoT will be a new source of wealth creation.

IoT devices can be classified in three categories: (1) wearables, (2) smart home devices, and (3) M2M devices. The first two categories are the most important for consumers. ‘Wearables’ are the devices that people carry with them, which usually connect via Bluetooth to a smart phone, and from there to the Internet. This category includes devices such as smart watches, fitness bands and devices to help people to live more ’mindfully’ – increasing the wearer’s awareness of how well they sleep, how much they move around, monitoring their vital signs, etc.

Smart home devices are also part of the IoT and usually connect to the Internet via ZigBee low power wireless communication and the home router. These include all domestic devices, from lights and light switches to motion sensors, thermostats, door locks and automated curtains. Via its WiFi connection to the router, the smart phone also becomes an online dashboard and control device for Smart Home applications.

The third category, M2M (Machine to Machine) devices, comprises devices that are directly connected to the cellular network, such as cars that can report their location (in case of an accident or theft), or vending machines that can call in when their stocks are running low.

Many households and businesses have thermostats, weather stations, smart lighting, security and electronic door locks, the majority of which are not currently interconnected. They are connected – but not to each other. The weather station does not provide information to the thermostat about the climate outside. The security system is not connected to the indoor motion sensors, nor to the electronic door locks (it does not automatically lock the forgotten back door when the inhabitants go out). In the future, all these systems will be interconnected, providing information to each other, and reacting accordingly. We are currently in an emerging state of the IoT, with individual vertical applications that operate as islands, and serve independent applications (such as security alarms, door locking, etc.). However, the real IoT will emerge when these applications cooperate, working together, and begin to use each other’s ’awareness’. That is when the true IoT avalanche will start.

The key component of the IoT – whether wearables or smart home devices – is not the sensor, but the application. Connecting the sensors is difficult, but extracting information from data is the essence. Useful information extracted from the data can coach people by reaffirming when things go as planned or by alerting or taking action if something goes wrong; and data analytics can be used to compare situations, to coach and to provide feedback to help make improvements. This is slowly starting to dawn on manufacturers and service providers alike. People are interested in the IoT if it helps them to improve aspects of their lives. Improvements are not achieved by sensors alone: a completely different way of thinking is required, and it will take some time for the new paradigm to be fully embraced.

Privacy and security are key, together with data ownership. Note, these are not IoT issues, but general internet issues that are amplified by the growth of new applications. These issues already exist for the internet of people, and industry and government bodies are slowly starting to recognize them and take action.

The growth of the IoT can be compared with the growth of the automobile industry. Picture the first cars hitting the road: there were no freeways, no road signs, no rules, no driving licences. Pedestrians did not know to get out of the way. Drivers did not know how to take turns at intersections. Neither drivers nor pedestrians understood the risks and liabilities, giving no consideration to liability and insurance.

We are currently at a similar stage with the IoT. Just as it took decades before all required infrastructure was in place around motor vehicles, it will take quite some time before it is in place around the Internet. Once I led the engineering team that successfully brought WiFi to the Mac laptop for Steve Jobs. After his team had achieved this, all others followed. Now WiFi is everywhere – but this took time and work. Similarly, in the context of the Internet and Internet of Things, there is a growing awareness that we need rules, training, legislation and enforcement. We are just starting to learn what might be needed.

The IoT will change the world in an even more profound way than has the Internet. If we ask our children today how the world existed before Internet, they are speechless. They have no comprehension of how people could communicate or even live their lives without the common place tools we have today. The same will happen with the IoT.

A decade from now, we will be dependent on the knowledge derived from the continuous stream of data from our wearables and our smart home devices, and we will have no idea how we managed the world and our lives before. We will be able to make better informed, more accurate and more timely decisions; and decisions that will improve our lives, save us money, and may even save our planet. The IoT will make the difference.

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About the Author 

This article was written by Cees Links, Founder & CEO GreenPeak Technologies. See more at www.greenpeak.com.

Callum Connects

Mikyung Kim, TV Commercial Producer

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Mikyung Kim is a savvy producer who runs her own TV and print production business, based in Hong Kong.

What’s your story?
I am a TV commercial and print producer working with advertising agencies and brands to bring their communication needs to the screen. My background is in film production and I started my career in Hollywood working with Oscar winning directors Michel Gondry and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Before starting my own company last year to produce content directly with agencies and brands, I was with Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong for nearly five years as the Senior Producer and Head of TV running the film production department.

What excites you most about your industry?
How it’s constantly evolving! Every day is different and it’s certainly never boring. I love that it’s a creative industry and that my job involves talking to people with creative minds on how we can bring a story on paper to life. It’s exciting that the advertising industry places high value on the creativity and effectiveness of content. I’ve produced a few commercials that creatively push the envelope with fun and sometimes wild ideas that have converted into positive brand awareness. Ever heard of KFC Finger Lickin’ Good…Nail Polish that yes, tastes like chicken? https://www.adweek.com/creativity/kfc-just-made-edible-finger-lickin-good-nail-polish-yeah-tastes-chicken-171245/

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Seoul and raised in Hong Kong until graduating from high school at HKIS. I spent my university years in Boston at Emerson College and worked in Los Angeles at Anonymous Content and Partizan Entertainment. But on a brief visit back to Hong Kong in 2010, I decided to move back and continue my career here, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is my home so it will always be my favourite city for business and for me personally. What I love about Hong Kong is that while I am based here, I can actually work with agencies and brands from anywhere in APAC. If I need to attend an important meeting, I can just hop on a quick flight easily. I spent most of 2017 working in Seoul with Korean agency Cheil and Samsung, and currently I am working with Japanese agency ADK and Toyota based in Singapore.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Fake it until you become it,” from Amy Cuddy’s TED talk. Worth a watch. This helped me early in my career when I felt like I was under qualified for the job I was in. I learned to fake my confidence and fake a powerful body language until I truly felt that confidence became something real. It was nerve wracking at first but it worked and now I don’t have to fake it.

Who inspires you?
My friends. Noelle who worked part time jobs while being a full time student to pay her own tuition while we were in college together. Osti who is a lawyer focused on supporting developing nations and a board member of Redress, an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Vanessa who runs a real estate company, co-owns the gym Crossfit Asphodel, started a health foods business called Quo and NGO The Keep Moving Project to promote wellness in our community. Cathy who will be the first Asian woman to direct a big budget superhero film starring Margot Robbie with Warner Bros and DC. And too many more to name!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
5.2 million plastic bottles are thrown away in Hong Kong every day. Plastic pollution is a major issue for the environment and we as responsible citizens can do our small part by reducing our consumption of unnecessary plastic. I do mine by having a water filter at home and carrying my own reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. I love the brand Hydroflask because the stainless steel material keeps water hot or cold for hours, so I don’t feel tempted to buy a cold water at 7-11 on those hot, humid days we have here.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
About five years ago I purchased my very first stock and put one month’s salary into it, which at the time was a lot of money for me. Knowing how that stock has performed now, I would have put all my savings into it.

How do you unwind?
Exercise is essential in my daily life to help clear my head and de-stress. My go to is a workout at Crossfit Asphodel, running outdoors, yoga and hiking. But a glass of red wine and live music at Soiree in Soho on Sunday night works pretty well too!

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
One of the best trips I ever took was to the island of Lombok in Indonesia. Two girl friends and I did a 3 day 2 night hiking and camping trip to summit the Mount Rinjani Volcano. It was physically challenging but mentally relaxing. There was no cellphone reception, no distractions, we had the company of nature and nights with skies full of shooting stars. It was pretty magical. We then went to the Gili Islands for a few days of scuba diving, yoga and sitting on the beach doing nothing but sipping on coconuts. That was pretty relaxing too.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel and “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. Essential reads for every working woman and/or man who wants to know how to support the working women in their life.

Shameless plug for your business:
I am a TV commercial and print producer that can plug into an existing advertising agency or brand team to produce their communication needs. Many advertising agencies these days are scaling down so they have creative directors and account services but may not have an in-house producer, so I can fill that gap by becoming a part of the existing agency team. For brands that want to produce content directly without involving an agency, I can also bridge the gap by bringing my production knowledge in-house and working as part of the marketing/brand team and liaising with the other departments in the company such as product team and ecomm.

How can people connect with you?
They can email me at [email protected]
or visit my website at mkimproducer.com

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Renne Ballard, Owner of Renée Ballard Communications

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Renne Ballard runs a social media agency working with business women, helping them find their business’s voice.

What’s your story?
I began my career in PR/communications ten years ago in Australia, after arriving home from two years in Dubai. In Dubai I was working for Emirates Airlines as a flight attendant and flying around the world non-stop for two years. This really sparked my interest for how people communicate. I started out as a community manager for an online advertising company, then moved into the corporate world of outdoor advertising, managing internal and external PR and communications. After having a baby four years ago, I decided to leave the safety net of corporate, and stride out on my own. I now run a social media agency and I specialise in working with business women, helping to find their business’ voice so they can use social media to achieve their business goals.

What excites you most about your industry?
I love the open accessibility online provides. It’s free for businesses to get online and connect with their target audience. Twenty years ago, advertising and PR was insanely expensive and quite elitist, but through incredible platforms like Facebook or Twitter, any business can connect with who is looking for their product/solution. Social media is particularly effective for small businesses because they have the edge when it comes to authenticity and a clear voice.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m in Hong Kong because I’m a trailing spouse. I know it’s such a daggy term, but I love it, it makes me sound so dedicated to my husband! Alas, we came to Hong Kong for my husband’s work. He’s the Design Director of Asia for an international retail design agency. We’ve been here for almost two years and it’s been a huge learning curve in terms of business and culture. We love the fast-paced nature of Hong Kong and the fact that everything is open late – it suits me perfectly because I’m nocturnal.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
That’s easy, Hong Kong. It’s the perfect blend of start-ups and mothership-sized institutions. I love the small business side, watching the collaborations between workshare spaces with galleries, networking groups and foodies; it’s a hothouse of creative partnerships here.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
When you’re are feeling scared about your next step, lean in and feel the difference. Is it fear mixed with excitement? Or fear mixed with dread? Always go with the former and cut loose the latter.

Who inspires you?
I love Tamara Mellon (Jimmy Choo founder). She has created multiple empires and she never stops trying new business models and pushing her limits. It helps that I love shoes too.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I just turned 40 years old. At best, I’m probably halfway through my life. It makes me constantly question, “Am I where I want to be?”

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have asked more questions to the people I looked up to, and listened less to the people telling me I won’t achieve my goals.

How do you unwind?
In this day and age, it’s scandalous to say, but I love sunbaking. At any chance, you’ll find me poolside, laying in the sun in a trance-like state.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Northern Danang in Vietnam. We were there at Christmas, at the foot of the mountains and it was beautiful. Heaps of wildlife and jungles and enough five star resorts that I was never parched once.

Everyone in business should read this book:
‘The E Myth’ by Michael Gerber. It’s an oldie but a goodie because it succinctly outlines how to transition from a one person operation to a global business like McDonalds. Once you see how important systems and processes are, you can recognise shambolic companies a mile off.

Shameless plug for your business:
Renée Ballard Communications is a social media agency that works with business women who are ready to make social media work for them. We create effective, powerful social media strategies that are tailored to the people who will be breathing life into them. We hand on heart promise to never use annoying, marketing buzzwords and that we value laughter above everything else.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected] or www.reneeballard.com or +85296670115

Twitter handle?
@ballard_comms

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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